Vetrhus has hands
with 2009 party plans
is to provide a variety
of events for everyones tastes
(December, 2008) - When Jan Vetrhus volunteered in summer
2007 to join the Madison Bicentennial planning committee, she never
dreamed she would eventually wind up in charge. But the election of
a new mayor that November ushered in a new administration, and thus,
new leadership was needed to see the $330,000 project through.
Vetrhus, 57, an Albuquerque, N.M., native who retired in 2007 from a
27-year career as a quality engineer at Cummins Engine Co. Inc., has
lived in Madison for the past 16 years. She serves on the board of Historic
Madison Inc. and volunteers as a house museum docent. She also had the
experience in 1994 of planning Cummins Engines 75th anniversary
of the Holset Engineering division. So her selection as chairwoman seemed
But there has been nothing natural
about Vetrhus experience so far in planning what will likely be
the biggest celebration to ever hit the historic river town come June
2009. It has been a role without precedent, she says, as she forges
new ground in planning a once-in-a-lifetime event.
She says she is pleased with the number of people who have volunteered
their time and ideas to plan the Bicentennial. And contributions are
still coming in the pay for the party, plus create a $250,000 fund to
establish some type of legacy long after the party has ended.
We have so much going on that it is likely not all the things
we are planning will actually happen, but I would say that most of them
will, said Vetrhus. The initial idea was not to make money
off the event but to have enough left over for the legacy gift to the
a year now, Vetrhus has been directing the monthly planning meeting
at the Madison-Jefferson County Public Library that is open to the public.
She also appears regularly on local radio stations and is quoted in
the news media on her committees progress. At the recent meeting
held Nov. 24, a large group of committee members met to present updates
on their efforts and to view the newly redesigned Madison Bicentennial
website www.MadisonBicentennial.com created
by local graphic designer Joe Lackner. The site is designed to keep
the public informed on the long list of Bicentennial year events that
will be taking place, beginning in January. The most significant events,
however, are being planned for Old Home Week, a 200-hour
party being planned June 6-14. That week will include concerts, lighted
boat parade, community picnic at Clifty Falls State Park, film festival,
historic trades fair and laser light show with fireworks, Arts
Day on the riverfront, as well as many other events. Many of the
arts and sports events will be hands-on and participatory.
We want to make sure people talk with their family and friends
during the holidays to invite them to join us for the celebration in
2009, Vetrhus said.
Reunions of all kinds are encouraged. The Bicentennial Committee envisions
that families, school classes, businesses and organizations will want
to plan reunions or special happenings during the Bicentennial year.
Vetrhus said the planning committee has a good mix of folks
from the community and all different ages. My goal is that anybody
will have an opportunity to participate and that we will have something
for all interests at the Bicentennial.
Among the unique plans are to have an operational passenger train running
between Madison and Dupont. The train car has been purchased and is
being renovated at the Jefferson Proving Ground by the Madison Railroad,
which will operate it. The idea is that this train would continue
to operate seasonally well beyond the Bicentennial, Vetrhus said.
Also, an original musical is being written for the occasion and will
be presented in October 2009 at the Madison Consolidated High School
auditorium. Vetrhus said she hopes other new events, such as the lighted
boat parade and the film festival, can become annual permanent events.
a brief look at the latest news:
Christmas gifts: A Madison Bicentennial limited-edition
clear glass Christmas ornament went on sale Dec. 1 for $14.98. Also
available for sale is a woven afghan, pewter-look lapel pin, collapsible
fabric shopping bag that folds to pocket size and dry-erase board. All
carry the Bicentennial logo designed by Madisons Troy Seel. These
items are available at the Lanier-Madison Visitors Center gift shop
and at many local merchants.
Talent Show. The first in a series of talent shows
will take place Jan. 6, with the winners competing for a chance to perform
as the opening act at the Laser Light Show in June.
Madison on the Ohio: Camille Fife and
Ron Grimes have been collecting photographs and writing copy for the
official Bicentennial history publication, Madison on the Ohio:
Remembering Two Hundred Years. The book itself, underwritten by
The Madison Courier, will be published in summer 2009. Those who want
to order the book for Christmas giving this year will be able to do
so and take advantage of the pre-publication price of $24.95
plus tax. The book can be shipped directly for an additional $10. Sales
will be handled through The Madison Courier, 310 Courier Square, or
on the website: www.madisoncourier.com.
Photography contest deadline nearing: RoundAbout
Madison is sponsoring a Bicentennial photography contest for images
that celebrate the beauty of Madison. There will be cash prizes of $200,
$100 and $50 for the top three photos. Information and entry forms can
be picked up at 314 Jefferson St. or downloaded from www.RoundAboutMadison.com.
The deadline for entries is Dec. 31.
Ring in the new year: On New Years Day, Madison
residents are asked to ring in the Bicentennial year by sounding bells
of all kinds at exactly noon. Madisons historic church bells will
peal and residents are invited to step outside their homes with their
own bells to join in.
Reunion planning: People planning reunions or other
events are invited to send information to Laura Hodges, Madison Bicentennial
publicity director, at: email@example.com for inclusion on
The Madison Bicentennial parade float made its debut
last summer at the Madison Regatta parade. Vetrhus announced it will
appear in four upcoming parades: the Madison Christmas parade on Dec.
6; Opening Day parade in April for the Reds baseball season in
Cincinnati; the Kentucky Derby Pegasus Parade in May in Louisville;
and the Indy 500 parade in May.
We have a lot going on, but all in all, Id say we are on
track, Vetrhus said. We have many activities planned, but
my biggest concern is that we have something for everybody.
Don Ward is the editor, publisher and owner
of the RoundAbout. Call him at (812) 273-2259 or via email at: Don@RoundAbout.bz.
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